"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded.
And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager

With Ya, my Ga tutor in Mallam
The Rev. Mike Kinman
Executive Director
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
Age: 38

Check out Forsyth School ...
where Robin teaches and
the boys attend.

Since you're already blowing time surfing,
why not do some cool stuff

  • Watch the Make Poverty History videos
  • Watch Sara McLachlan's "World on Fire" video
  • Take a seat at Oxfam America's Hunger Banquet
  • Look at the "Eight Ways to Change The World" photo exhibition
  • See how rich you are on the Global Rich List
  • Make a promise to do something cool -- and get people to do it with you
  • Use your computer to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases

    While you're at it, do these things
  • Join the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History
  • Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network
  • Join Amnesty International
  • Subscribe to Sojourners Online newsletter about faith, politics and culture
  • Sign the Micah Call and join other Christians in the fight against poverty
  • Subscribe to a great new magazine about women and children transforming our world

    People who show us What One Person Can Do
  • Liza Koerner (Teaching soccer and doing mission work in Costa Rica)
  • Erica Trapps (Raising money so Tanzanian children can go to school -- check out her photo gallery)

    What's happening in Sudan might
    surprise (and shock) you

  • Episcopal Diocese of Lui
  • South Sudanese Friends International
  • The Sudan Tribune
  • SudanReeves -- research, analysis and advocacy
  • Save Darfur
  • Darfur: a genocide we can stop

    For your daily fix on the irreverent...
  • Jesus of the Week
  • The Onion

    Interesting People Who Are Great To Read
  • Beth Maynard's excellent U2 sermons blog
  • Global Voices Online
  • Neha Viswanathan - poetry, commentary, humor, reflections

    Some interesting organizations and programs
  • Borgen Project - poverty reduction through political accountability
  • CARE
  • Center of Concern
  • DATA: Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa (Bono's site)
  • El Circulo de Mujeres/Circle of Women
  • Engineering Ministries International
  • Episcopal Peace Fellowship
  • Episcopal Relief and Development
  • FreshMinistries
  • Global Campaign Against Poverty
  • Global Ministries
  • Global Work Ethic Fund -- Promoting philanthropy and fundraising in developing and transition countries.
  • Karen Emergency Relief Fund
  • Magdalene House
  • The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
  • Natural Capitalism
  • NetMarkAid - Humanitarian Entrepreneurs
  • North American Association for the Diaconate
  • Peace Child International
  • People Building Peace
  • Project Honduras
  • Results - Creating political will to end hunger
  • St. Paul's Institute
  • Stop Global AIDS
  • TakingITGlobal -- connecting youth for action in local and global communities
  • Tanzania Educational AIDS Mission
  • TEAR (Transformation, Empowerment, Advocacy, Relief) - An Australian Christian anti-poverty movement
  • Working For Change
  • Xigi.net -- an open-source tool to aid discovery in the capital markets that fund good.

    Some Episcopal churches and dioceses doing cool things
  • Companions of Swaziland - Diocese of Iowa's Companion Relationship
  • International Development Missions -- St. Paul's Church, Sparks, NV
  • The Malaria Villages Project - St. Paul's Church, West Whiteland, PA

    Must-read books and websites about them
  • What Can One Person Do: faith to heal a broken world -- Sabina Alkire & Edmund Newell
  • The End of Poverty -- Jeffrey Sachs

    Learn more about things you really should know more about
  • UN Millenium Development Goals
  • The Millennium Campaign
  • AIDS Matters - a resource for global AIDS professionals
  • Christian Aid's in-depth report: "Millennium Lottery: Who lives and who dies in an age of third world debt?"
  • Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Poverty Mapping
  • Solutions for a water-short world
  • Transparency International: The global coalition against corruption
  • UNICEF's State of The World's Children report 2005

    General cool and/or goofy stuff
  • Alicebot chat robot
  • Bono Quotes -- but what's really wild is that it's from a page on Boycottliberalism.com!
  • Buffy Slanguage
  • Big Bunny

    Useful web tools
  • Gcast - make your own podcast
  • Podzinger - podcast search engine
  • Orb - streaming digital media

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  • Tuesday, February 27, 2007

    Quo Vadimus

    I've wanted to change the title of my blog for a long time ... because even though I loved the quote from C.S. Lewis it came from, I just couldn't help feeling like it was WAY too self-important.

    Of course it takes a certain kind of twisted mind to, in an effort to make something sounds less self-important, change a title to something in Latin!

    I've been toying with various ideas for a couple months, and this is the one that stayed with me. It's from a couple different sources. It would be cooler and more rc (religiously correct) to say that it came from St. Peter's conversation with the resurrected Christ on the way to Rome (though "where are YOU going?" is the question Peter supposedly asked Jesus then), but the truth is it comes from the final episode of the excellent and short-lived Aaron Sorkin show, Sports Night.

    Calvin Trager is not some great philosopher, he's a character that emerges as the show charged toward real-life cancellation. The show, which is about the staff of a SportsCenter-like show, is living in fear because their network is for sale and they figure anyone who buys it is going to sell it -- and them -- for scrap.

    Only a new bidder emerges, a strange entity called "Quo Vadimus"... which means "Where are we going?" Around the same time, Dana Whitaker (played wonderfully by Felicity Huffman) begins running into this strange, coy man in a pub down the street who seems to know things about the negotiations before they happen.

    That man's name is Calvin Trager, he's a venture capitalist who has made a huge success of himself because instead of being afraid of failure, he has embraced it. Because failure is an opportunity to stop and ask the all-important question "Quo Vadimus" ... "Where are we going?" And so he tells Dana:

    "Dana, I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better."

    It takes an incredible amount of humility, groundedness and just plain common sense to take that approach to life. And as I've been back-burnering this blog name over the past couple months, that phrase and that philosophy kept coming back to me.

    And I've come to believe that Quo Vadimus is at the heart of the Christian faith. We have a faith borne out of failure -- out of Jesus not being crowned king but raised up on a cross. A faith out of which our savior saves us by continually asking us to look at our lives and ask that question: Quo Vadimus. Where are we going?

    If arrogance and putting ourselves in the place of God is original sin, then certainly a corrective to that is not fearing failure but embracing it as an opportunity and gift from God. Of continually stopping and re-examining our lives and asking that question -- where are we going? Is it really where we should be going?

    But we don't do that. Candidates for public office get roasted over open flame for "flip-flopping" on issues ... and while sometimes that is suitable when the cause is pandering, it creates an environment where self-examination and legitimately changing one's mind is admitting grave weakness. It's given us a president who will still not say the words "I made a mistake." It's given us trench warfare in the church between sides that are so dug into their positions that they refuse to give even an inch to the "other side" for fear of being overrun.

    Quo Vadimus.

    Where are we going?

    Bill North once told me that most priest really only have one sermon and they find a way to preach it in lots of different ways. I don't know if that's true or not, but I find as I post my thoughts here, a lot of them have to do with that question -- Quo Vadimus.

    A 16-year old boy quotes Martin Luther King to me as he curses what our country is doing to his.

    I travel to Ghana, Sudan ... and soon to South Africa and Rwanda ... and see a world where a child dies every three seconds while the wealth and power that could save him is in the hands of so very few. And yet also a world where so many are coming together in hope and joy with the conviction that this deep brokenness is not a death sentence but an opportunity for deep healing.

    Abbie Coburn tells of Palestinians who literally live surrounded by walls cut off from their families ... walls built by my tax dollars.

    I watch my children grow up, I watch my wife with them, and I know I've never seen anything so beautiful in my whole life. I listen to my son tell me he wants to make a lemonade stand and send the money he makes to the people in Africa I'm going to visit.

    I travel around the church and meet amazing people for whom church is not a place they go on Sunday but a community that challenges them and prods them to live their faith out loud in the world. Who look at the movement to make poverty history and respond with a simple "where do I sign up?"

    Where are we going is not an easy question to answer. It's probably one of those questions where the point is at least as much in the asking of it than the answering of it.

    Sports Night was cancelled ... which allowed Aaron Sorkin to say "quo vadimus" himself ... and develop another project called "The West Wing." (looks like he'll have to do that again after the Studio 60 debacle).

    Failure is an opportunity. An opportunity for a great question.
    Mike at 2/27/2007 01:25:00 PM

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    Episcopalians for
    Global Reconciliation

    EGR is an organization resourcing a grassroots movement of spiritual transformation in the Episcopal Church to end extreme poverty on this planet.

    The structure for this movement is the Millennium Development Goals -- 8 goals committed to by all member nations of the UN and a unique partnership of governments and civil society to:

    *End extreme poverty
    *Achieve universal
    primary education

    *Promote gender equalty
    *Improve maternal health
    *Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    *Promote environmental sustainability
    *Build a global partnership for development

    EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.

    Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.

    "Christ's example is being demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy, which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here. If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't, it will be irrelevant."
    - Bono


    What I'm Reading
    Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin